Life Hacks

How to schedule phone calls and meetings effectively

A Meeting scheduled on IQTELL
wrote this on August 2, 2011 / no comments

For small and large businesses alike, much of our day is taken up by interactions with others. A phone call here, a meeting there, emails and text messages everywhere…. Is there another way? Can we schedule our phone calls and meetings more effectively?

While we may long for some peace and quiet to get some work done, often these conversations take place for a reason. Important planning and decision making occurs throughout the day, and capturing those details is a challenge.

Sure, I could spend 45 minutes each week searching through my Inbox for email correspondence with my project manager as we tried to narrow down the project scope. But, that seems like a colossal waste of time. I already had this conversation, we made decisions, and yet now I’m spending more time dealing with it. That’s the opposite of being productive.

That’s where the Phone Calls & Meetings App in IQTELL comes in.

Manage phone calls and meetings with IQTELL

Here are my useful tips!

#1 Develop a Routine – If I’m preparing for a conversation, no matter the medium, I do my preperation in the App. That way, I can have all of the relavent materials for that critical meeting or phone call in one place. If it already happened, I’ve gotten into the habit of jotting down the major points quickly thereafter. It’s never going to be more fresh in your mind than right after it’s over, so I let IQTELL take care of the long-term. Now, I take meeting notes directly in my IQTELL app. And, I often create and link related tasks with priorities and due dates. I can quickly see what tasks resulted from what meeting and what their status is.

A Meeting scheduled on IQTELL

#2 Phone Calls – The only visual evidence that a phone call took place is the call log on your phone. Occasionally, I’ll scribble a note on a scrap of paper during the call, and it would wind up under a pile of other pieces of scrap paper. Coincidently, as I was writing this blog post, I received a phone call from one of our users. During the conversation, I took some notes directly in my Phone Calls & Meetings App.

I’m not saying that I’ve completely abandoned pen and paper. But, I try to convert my physical notes into entries in IQTELL as quickly as possible so that I avoid the inevitable wasted time searching for that tiny sticky note.

#3 Scheduled Meetings – If a meeting is scheduled, you probably know the agenda. For those, I like to create my Meeting entry before hand, attach the meeting’s agenda, and set a reminder for its start time. Then, after the meeting’s over, I quickly summarize the decisions that were made, and I make sure to include any tasks/action items I need to take care of before the next meeting.

#4 Ad Hoc Meetings – Not all meetings are on your calendar. People drop by your office, stop you in the hallway, or you might talk a little shop during lunch. In my experience, valuable ideas and decisions are just as likely to come about during these encounters as they are during structured meetings. If you’re seeking someone out to talk about a specific issue, there’s a good chance that short meeting will be highly productive. Don’t let that productivity go to waste!

#5 Emails – A lot can occur over email. Opinions, comments and ideas can be shared between a group of individuals. Ultimately, decisions are made and plans are formed. While it’s ludicrous to think that you’d type an entire email chain into an entry in the Phone Calls & Meetings App, you do have other options.

First, I like to provide a line or two summary of what took place during the conversation. I only include enough information to jog my memory, and not too much that I end up reliving the same conversation again in its entirety.

Second, I take advantage of the “Link Entry” field and I link the most important message(s) to the Phone Call & Meeting entry. This is entirely optional, but it is very useful. It’s great to know that I won’t have to dig through my Inbox later to find this related message.

How to link phone calls to meetings

The answer to the “how to schedule phone calls and meetings effectively?” question is definitely IQTELL!

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